What is a CDA Credential?

CDA (Child Development Associate) is a national credential awarded by the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition. This credential requires formal training, experience, observation, exam and is awarded by the Council in Washington D.C.


It is a sign of a highly qualified early childhood educator.  It a arduous process which involves education, building a portfolio, and taking high stakes exam.  Through the process the early educators learn a lot about child development, early education, and their own practices.  The process of being awarded the credential signifies the recipient is up to date with theories, philosophies, and is highly qualified to teach young children.


The Child Developmental Associate Credential is a coveted license by most early educators.  Programs that have CDA staff are quality programs that understand the needs of young children and how they learn and grow.  The credential must renewed every three years with proof of ongoing training in the are of early education.


At Raising Arizona Preschool, we have CDA staff along with staff who are in the process of receiving their credential. Raising Arizona Preschool values high trained and quality staff. We are a high-quality program that invests in our employees, so they can provide a high level of education services.  To learn more about Raising Arizona Preschool please call 623-77-0113.  Your child deserves a high-quality program that will spark the imagination and help them learn and grow.

Holiday Lights around Town


It is the time of years, and children love to look at lights!  The Valley has some amazing lights displays. From Surprise to the Foothills holidays lights set the sky aglow.


For about $10 a ticker you can enjoy the Lights of the World at the Phoenix Fair grounds.  This is largest light and lantern festival in North American. The lights brighten the Phoenix skies from November 16 through January 2. With 11 exhibits and 75 stunning displays of different cultures around the world this show of lights is sure to delight the whole family.  You learn more and buy tickets at https://lightsoftheworldus.com/ .


You don’t have to break the bank for family holiday lights. If your looking free lights around town try Glendale Glitters in downtown Glendale.  The award-winning lights display in Glendale in a family favorite. Learn more at https://www.glendaleaz.com/glitters/.


Mesa is home to the Mormon Temple Christmas Lights display. Open nightly through December 31, there are thousands upon thousands of lights with unique displays, music, and more.  This free event is a must see.  Learn more at http://www.mesachristmaslights.com/


Don’t want to get out of the car? AZcentral publishes an annual driving map of holiday lights.  The drive takes about an hour and showcases the best private home with light displays.  Get the map here and take the family on a enchanted winter’s drive around the Valley.   https://www.azcentral.com/pages/interactives/phoenix-holiday-lights-map/


With so many options there is one that fits every family. Children love lights and will delight in whichever option you choose.  Spend some quality time with your family this season and enjoy the abundance of holiday lights around Phoenix.


At Raising Arizona Preschool, we seek to delight children daily. Our classrooms are designed to inspire children’s imaginations and peek curiosity.  We encourage families to carry this mission over into their lives. When you delight children, amazing things happen.

Nutrition effects your child

Making sure children get the right amount of the right foods is important.  Did you know nutrition affects behavior, sleeping patterns, growth, and even brain development? A healthy diet helps children to learn:

  • Make half of what is on your child’s plate fruits and vegetables
  • Choose healthy sources of protein, such as lean meat, nuts, and eggs
  • Serve whole-grain breads and cereals because they are high in fiber.
  • Broil, grill, or steam foods instead of frying them
  • Limit fast food and junk food
  • Offer water or milk instead of sugary fruit drinks and sodas

Picky eating is a very typical behavior for preschoolers as they begin to assert their independence.  It can be very frustrating when you have a picky eater. Try these strategies:

  • Let your child be the “produce picker” at the grocery store. Let them help choose the fruits and vegetables you will take home and eat.
  • Offer choices. Instead of saying “Would you like broccoli for dinner?” say, “Help me choose which vegetable we will make with dinner. Should we make broccoli or carrots?”
  • Let your child serve themselves. Children are more likely to eat foods when they put their food on their own plate.
  • Don’t be a “short-order cook”, making a different meal for your preschooler. Your child will be okay if they eat a little less at first.
  • Let your child help in the kitchen. Children will take pride in what they have done and be more likely to eat foods they have helped prepare.

If your child continues to be a picky eater even after trying various strategies, you should consult with your pediatrician to rule out any underlying medical causes.


At Raising Arizona Preschool, we take pride on our fresh cooked meals. We are part of the Federal Meals Programs, which means we prepare and serve healthy and diverse meals. You can rest assured your child is getting healthy meals and snacks at Raising Arizona Preschool each day.  We offer wide variety of fruits and vegetable daily and give children the opportunity to try new healthy foods.


Thankfulness of Children

Do you struggle with a child who has yet to learn appreciation or be grateful? Young children are very egocentric; they still believe the world revolves around them, so they do not understand the concept of gratitude. By learning gratitude, children become sensitive to feelings of others, develop empathy and foster other life skills.

So, how do you teach this skill?

Children model behavior of their parents and other adults in their life;  it starts with you! Make sure to you use manners; say “please” and “thank you”, talk about what you are grateful for, have children help in daily tasks. Write thank you notes and encourage generosity by donating or giving to others.

The month of November is a great time to talk to your children about being thankful. Discuss the things that you are appreciative for and encourage your children to do the same, every day.  Take this opportunity to donate to charity and have your child help. Be sure to show gratitude in daily life and teach your child about “thankfulness”.

Children will not learn thankfulness overnight, it is something that has to be developed over time. Model a sense of gratitude and thankfulness each day and soon you will have a child that is thankful.


At Raising Arizona Preschool, we believe in gratitude and thankfulness. Each day we model thankfulness and encourage children to do to the same.  We value thankfulness and turn teach the children about this essential life skill.

Encouraging a love of Books

Research shows that parents, caregivers, and family members can start fostering a love of reading as early as birth. This happens by reading to your child and modeling reading. Surround you child in a book rich environment from the start and it will carrying with them through life.


Spend Time Reading to Your Children

Families are encouraged to start reading to their children, even as babies. Taking just five to ten minutes a day to read to your child. This can be at playtime or a bedtime routine. Even at a young age, allowing your child to see, touch, and play with the book while you are reading creates interest and an emotional connection between language and the feelings of being comforted.

Older children should be encouraged to try to read along, to say the memorized parts of their favorite books, to point to the pictures and to ask questions. As children get older, discuss the “what if” questions about the pictures and the story this will lead to creative thinking.  Families can also encourage older children to read by allowing them to choose their own books. Children will begin to realize that we read for a purpose; whether it’s to learn something or for enjoyment.

Model Reading

It is important for children to see that their family members choose to spend some time reading. Set aside some time for family reading together. Remove other distractions during this time to model reading by focusing on their book.  Book breaks are an excellent way to encourage reading together.

Tell Stories and Encourage Imagination

Even before children can read, they love to tell stories. This should be encouraged without any demands regarding the story. Just let the children explore their imagination out loud.  Children are natural storytellers, give them an audience and they blossom.

In today’s world, children are surrounded by electronics and technology and the magic of books is sometimes undiscovered. Becoming a reader happens one book at a time and developing a foundational love for reading starts in childhood.


At Raising Arizona Preschool, we believe strongly in creating a love of books and reading. Each day children are exposed to rich reading activities and storytelling.  These activities foster both reading, language development, and a love a learning that will carry with you child as they continue through school.

Does Time Out Work?

Time out, it used to be a pretty popular form of discipline, but we are hearing less and less about time outs. Why is this? Does time out work?

The short answer? Yes. and No. Let me explain.

Time out, it used to be a pretty popular form of discipline, but we are hearing less and less about time outs. Why is this? Does time out work?

What is Time Out

Time out is supposed to be a brief separation between the caregiver and the child. The point of time out is to allow the child to practice self-calming skills.  Time out is when we need to quite frankly, completely ignore the child in trouble. Why is this? Because most of the time when kids misbehave it is to get attention. If a child is in time out and getting our attention still, the method of discipline does not work.

Timeouts were created based on the assumption that  kids were being raised in environments where they had plenty of “time in’s”. Which are positive, loving interactions.

Why Doesn’t Time Out Work? 

Too often times time out is not being used the way it was meant to. We spend time arguing with the child. Other children interact with the child in time out. The child whines, or cries, and moves, forcing the caregiver to interact with he child by reminding them to calm down, or go back to their time out space. This gives the child the attention they are seeking. Not the break or the time they need to learn how to calm down on their own.

In addition to the above children now are too often times reminded of the bad they do, instead of being encouraged and filled with positive reinforcements.

We Need to Try Time IN

In addition to using time outs, parents and child care providers need to practice Time In. What is this? It is when we praise the children in our lives for GOOD behavior.

Time out is really one of the only methods of discipline caregivers in a child care setting can use, yet we tend to use it ineffectively time and time again. Because of this, time outs rarely work.

For more about using time out effectively check out this post, where we discussed in depth how to effectively use time out. 

25 Fun Activities to do WITH Your Child This Summer

Summer is here and with it comes fun, time outdoors, and laughter. Preschool is one of the best ages because really, it takes very little to make them happy. The biggest thing they usually need is YOU :_

So, plan on doing some fun things with your child this summer. They cost little, and the reward is the joy in their eyes as the discover new things.

Here are 25 fun activities to do with your child this summer.

 Here are 25 fun activities to do with your child this summer. They cost little, and the reward is the joy in their eyes as the discover new things.

  1. Catch lighting bugs
  2. Wade in a creek
  3. Skip rocks
  4. Go fishing
  5. Look for worms
  6. Blow bubbles
  7. Make your own homemade bubbles
  8. Create a volcano
  9. Try geocaching
  10. Visit a state park
  11. Visit a local nature center
  12. Go camping (backyards count!)
  13. Draw with sidewalk chalk
  14. Ride bikes
  15. Plant flowers
  16. Catch an outdoor movie
  17. Make homemade popcorn
  18. Join a summer reading program
  19. Paint outside
  20. Play in a sprinkler
  21. Try out a slip and slide
  22. Make homemade popsicles
  23. Go for a picnic
  24. Stay up late and stargaze
  25. Go for a scavenger hunt

All of the items on this list cost little to nothing and will result in hours of fun. Bonus? While doing these activities with your child this summer they will be learning something, and probably won’t even realize it 🙂

For more great activities for summer fun check out these sites:

35 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten

Kindergarten is right around the corner for many of our students. One thing parents ask a lot is what exactly does their child need to know before stepping foot into that kindergarten classroom.

Here at Raising Arizona Preschool we do our best to prepare your child for Kindergarten. This comes through our emergent curriculum, play based learning and teachers who know what they are doing. However, we also believe education begins at home and parents can and should know where their child is at academically.

35 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten

Here are 35 things your child needs to know before Kindergarten:

  1. Bounces, kicks, throws and catches a ball
  2. Understands concepts of in/out, under/overon/offfront/back, etc.
  3. Knows by heart and recites some common nursery rhymes and songs
  4. Pretends creates and makes up songs or stories
  5. Describes characters’ actions and feelings in a story
  6.  Understands concepts of nonesome and all and more than and less than
  7. Shows interest and asks questions about objects and events observed in their environment
  8. Draws recognizable shapes and simple objects
  9. Explores with common musical instruments
  10.  Understands that people live in different parts of the worlds and have different customs and traditions
  11. Puts events of a story in order
  12. Enjoys improvising or copying musical patterns
  13. Recognizes basic traditions such as birthdays
  14.  Able to recognize and name numbers 1-10, even when they are out of order
  15. count to 20
  16. count 10 objects, pointing to each one as she counts
  17. hold a book and turn pages
  18. write her first name
  19. identify some letter sounds
  20. Interacts appropriately with adults and peers
  21. Puts puzzles together
  22.  Tries to tie own shoes
  23. Relates stories to personal experiences
  24. Uses comparison words, like “bigger,”smaller,”heavier,” etc.
  25.  Rides a tricycle
  26. Recognize her first name
  27. Recognize the letters (uppercase and lowercase) of the alphabet
  28. Identify colors in an 8-ct crayon pack
  29. Works cooperatively (listens to others, shares and takes turns)
  30.  Sort items by size, color, or shape
  31.  Tell if two words rhyme
  32. Respects the rights, property and feelings of others
  33.  Know parents full names and at least one parent’s phone numbers.
  34. Recognize and name basic shapes: square, circle, triangle, and rectangle
  35. Say or sing the alphabet

These are just some of the basic things a child should know before entering Kindergarten. The best way to prepare your child for Kindergarten is to read, read, read. Talk while they are playing, work on sorting blocks while building, count cars while “driving”.  Children learn best while moving and interacting with others. And their first and best teacher are always YOU!


How to Handle Fear in Preschoolers


Fear is a feeling of dread or anxiety.  Preschool age children have many common fears. For a preschooler fear is a real feeling of something that they think is going to happen, or something that they are unsure of. Fear can be seen in many forms at the preschool age. A child may have one or a dozen things they are afraid of. Some of these fears may include:

  • Nightmares or bad dreams
  • Being left alone
  • Being around someone new like a baby sitter or stranger
  • Loud noises
  • Flashing lights
  • Dogs or other animals
  • Unexpected events can trigger fears (a house fire may spark a fear of smoke, or a car accident may trigger a fear of riding in a vehicle)
  • Darkness

These are just a few things a child may fear. How you handle fear in preschoolers is important. There are a few key points that you need to remember.

Fear in preschoolers is a real thing. How you handle these fears is important. Here are some tips that can help .

Honesty is the best policy

Always tell your child the truth. Lying or being sneaky in order to avoid dealing with a fear is not a good idea. If your child is afraid of shots, don’t avoid telling them they may be getting one. Talk to them about it a head of time. You can tell the child something like “The doctor is coming in first, then the nurse will be in to give you a shot”. The child WILL be afraid, but they will know and understand what is going to happen to them. They will also know that they can trust you to tell them the truth. Try your best to empathize with your child. Tell them you understand that they are afraid. Acknowledging the child’s fear is important, don’t brush it off as if it doesn’t matter. To your child it is a huge deal.


If a loud noise frightens your child, stop the noise and comfort them. By giving immediate comfort when the emotional crisis happens you are acknowledging the fear and showing your child empathy. Once your child calms down you can discuss the fear and make a plan. This is acknowledging the fear, yet being supportive while they work through it.

It is important to not make fun of the child for being afraid. What may seem silly to you is a big deal to your child. Making fun of or joking about their fears teaches them that they can’t talk to you about what is important to them. This is not something you want your child to believe. As a parent, you want to be the one your child comes to when they are scared. Empathizing with your child is a huge step in earning their trust.

Be supportive

If your child is afraid of new situations or new people then be there so they know they can trust you for help and support. Remind them that you will be nearby if they need help or get scared. If the child is afraid of doctors ask the doctor if it is okay for your child to sit on your lap during an examination. The same thing can be done at the barber shop or dentist. As a parent you are the buffer between your child and the outside world. By being supportive you are letting the child know that you acknowledge their fears, but you are also comforting them and supporting them while they work through the fear. This support is essential for a child and helps to reduce their anxiety and insecurity.

Give them a security object

If your child has a blankey or a doll that they love, let them carry it with them if they are facing a new or difficult situation. To a parent this security object may seem unimportant but to your child it is a piece of home. It is comforting and makes them feel safe. The security object can give them confidence and comfort when they need it. This is especially true if the child is facing a fear and you are not going to be with them.

Play and educate!

Using play to help counter a fear is a great idea! If your child is afraid of doctors play around with toy shots, or act out what is going to happen at the doctor’s office. You can act out sirens for police cars and fire trucks, you can help put on band aids for your “boo boo’s”, make loud barking noises like you are a dog, all of these are ways a child can work through fear by playing.

You can also educate your child on their fears through play. If your child is afraid of bees, get a bunch of books on bees from the library and read them to your child. Talk about what bees do, and why they are flying around outdoors.  You can do the same thing with fire trucks, or other vehicles that make loud noises. Talk about the jobs of community helpers, and what those sirens mean. If a barking dog scares your child explain why the dog barks (after they are calmed down) and what the dog may be trying to communicate. Educating your child on their fears can help them the next time they are in a situation with that fear. They can think back and remember that you told them WHY the siren is loud, or WHY the dog may be barking, and that can help them overcome the fear.


Fear in preschoolers is a real thing.  As parents, it may seem a daunting task to help your child work through them. Keep these tips in mind the next time your child expresses a fear, and remember no matter how small it may seem to you, it is a big deal to your child!



Family Fun in Glendale, AZ ~ April

Arizona is a great place to raise a family. There is tons of family fun in Glendale, Arizona and the surrounding area! These are just a few of the many family fun activities going on in April!

Family Fun in Glendale, AZ - April

What: KidFest at Friendship Park

When: Saturday, April 9 at 10 AM1 PM

Where: Friendship Park

Avondale KidFest is a free event put on by the City of Avondale that showcases community groups dedicated to families and children while celebrating the value and importance of families as a key part of a healthy community.

What:West Valley Kids Expo
When: Sunday, April 17 at 1 PM4 PM
Where: American Sports Center~Avondale

Details: American Sports Center is hosting it’s First Annual West Valley Kids Expo on Sunday April 17th from 1pm-4pm. This is a FREE event for all ages. There will be roughly 25 vendors on site including Kona Ice, Lil’ Kickers, Jubeelieve Playland and many others. This is your opportunity to learn about various summer camps and activities. Stop by and say hi, we’ll love to see you!

Kids activities will include games and bounce houses.

Movies by Moolight

WhenFri, April 22, 6pm – 9pm
Where: Downtown Glendale Murphy Park (map)
Description: Spend a warm evening under the starts enjoying family friendly box office hits. Bring your blanket or lawn chair. Free pre-movie activities for kids start at 6 p.m.
Event Type: Storytime and Reading
Date: Monday, April 18, 2016
Start Time: 10:30 AM
Library: Westgate

Have you heard? It’s the first and third! Every first and third Monday of the month, enjoy a free, interactive storytime program presented by the Glendale Public Library at Westgate. Stories, rhymes,…

Age(s): Children, Families

When: Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 4PM
Where: Foothills Branch Library

Details: For ages 7-11. You won’t want to miss the chance to make your own set of story stones! Use your imagination to create your story stones, then use them with your friends and family to make up stories


What: Glendale Family Bike Ride

When: Sun, April 10, 8am – 12pm

Where: Sahuaro Ranch Park
Details: Annual Glendale Family Bike Ride starts at Sahuaro Ranch Park.

So, mark your calendars and make the time to get out and enjoy the family fun in Glendale, AZ this April!